This morning what I read during my quiet time and what Abba spoke on our long drive didn't seem related. But as usual, He brought it all together.
The reading He led me to was in I Chronicles where David is finally, after a very long and difficult time/journey, is appointed king of Israel. Samuel anointed him for the position a long while back, but it wasn't after many battles- physical, emotional, spiritual, and probably mental- that he took the place God gave him.
As I was reading God ministered to me about that place David was in: one far from home, away from family, one of betrayal, being pursued, his life being on the line, being uncomfortable and having to depend on God for every move, and how it was that very place that he learned to trust God at a much higher level. A depth of intimacy was grown, cultivated, in that rocky place.
That difficult place also trained him and prepared him to be a king, one after God's own heart. Not to say he didn't make mistakes in his kingship, but when you go through rough patches your learn to depend on God and hear His voice at new levels.
So, if you're in a tough place now, take heart. If you've been betrayed, are wild lands, feel the heat of enemies behind you, or find yourself in battle after battle, use it as an opportunity to lean on Him harder than you ever have. Make it you and God against your problems, not you alone against them.
Talk to Him. Pray. Read the Bible because He will speak to you through it as He does with me every single day. He will comfort you there and when you do come out, which you will, you'll have a level of depth, intimacy with Him that will you will carry into the places He has appointed you.
Back to country clubs.
Country clubs are exclusive places. They are the opposite of the wild lands David was in.
Access is gained to country clubs not only through money exchanged, but by social status. I've never been a part of one, but I've read about people being denied their country club applications due to things such as living in the wrong zip code, culture, language, genealogy, etc. I remember one story in a book about a man being denied because he was Greek rather than the right kind of American. It seemed crazy to me.
Not only do you have to pay to be accepted into a country club, you have to fit a tight pre-existing mold, one designed and mirrored by its founders. There are country clubs of all varieties in the world and the goal is always to create a homogenous, affluent environment for the comfort of those on the inside.
I was hearing the words "country club" over and over as I drove with a feeling of urgency and anger tinged with sadness.
I believe God is working to break down walls that have kept the "wrong" people (wrong by man's standards, not by God's) out of the right situations. Not only that, but for people who seem to be on the inside but in reality are still in outer courts so to speak, they will find that the walls preventing them from being given places at the table dissolved.
The people inside but in outer courts will not only be brought in, but the systems and type of thinking that left them outside in many ways will be dismantled. Hearts will be softened.
Caste systems have no place amongst people of God. In the time of the holy temple there were various courts: courts of the gentiles, women, etc. There was also the Holy of Holies which only the high priest had access to. Jesus came to break all barriers to God and make all equal before the Father.
It is human nature to create hierarchies and exclusive clubs, but these things choke out the work of God because God does not built clubs, He builds homes. Heavens. Castles full of people who didn't pay to be there, but accepted the payment of Jesus' work on the cross.
In Luke 14, Jesus talks about the importance of taking lowly seating in a parable about humility. In country clubs, people want the best parking spots, best seats, to be seen and acknowledged by the most important people, but this is the opposite of the how we are to think and act.
"For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11
Letting anyone but God elevate you is dangerous. It's addictive and dangerous.
Later in the chapter, He tells a parable about a banquet and how the host went out into the "highways and byways" to find people who would come "fill His house."
Human beings are big respecters of persons but God is not.
Humans are quick to decide what place at a table a person deserves. One of the many reasons religious authorities had such a problem with Jesus is because of who He sat with, who He associated with: people considered too low. He didn't visit them in His free time or throw money at them to feel good about Himself the way many Pharisees did, He sat with them. Ate with them. These were considered intimate acts at the time and were not done with people who were socially and spiritually and morally unclean.
He didn't do it to have friends in low places. He did it out of love. He did it because He knew to change their lives, He had to come down. It's the same way He came down from heaven to this world, God in flesh, to save us all.
God left His high place in heaven to come to Earth.
It's a humbling thing to think about. And if we hold it on our minds and hearts, we'll never consider ourselves above anyone. We'll want to tear down any wall in our heart or court in our minds keeping "lower" people out, different people on the outskirts or at our feet.
If the Son of God, the Divine Son of God, can lower Himself why can't we? He deserves it all and is worthy of it all and sat by the lowest. He invited and continues to invite all into His house. What an example. What a heart. It's His love.
I'm full of excitement for what God is doing. What Jesus is doing. I know in my heart it is a part of Him cleansing us for a time to come. Until that day or night, let us receive Him both as Himself and in the form of the least of these.
Whether you're in the wild lands or the country club, I pray that you receive the fullness of Jesus' presence and power in your life today, in His name.
I like to post this because I never know if someone doesn't know Jesus. You can today. Life is better with Him.